President Biden repeatedly pledged on the campaign trail to not raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000, but that income threshold only applies to individual filers – not married couples whose combined salaries exceed the cap.
The $1.8 trillion "American Families Plan," released Wednesday, raises the top tax rate to 39.6% from 37%, "applying only to those within the top 1%," according to a copy of the proposal. The higher tax rate will apply to families with joint taxable income of about $509,300 and individuals earning more than $452,700, a White House official confirmed to FOX Business.
Under those proposed brackets, a hypothetical couple that earns $600,000 combined each year would be required to pay the higher taxes, even if the spouses individually made less than $400,000. This would apply if the couple filed jointly.
"Consistent with the president’s campaign proposal, we are proposing to reverse the tax cut for the top bracket by returning that top tax bracket to what it would’ve been under pre-2017 law," the official said. "That applies to less than 1% of Americans - the very top earners."
The current top marginal rate of 37% is currently paid by singles earning $523,601 or more and couples making $628,301 or more.
But the proposed brackets seemingly contradict Biden's campaign promise that no one earning less than $400,000 would pay higher taxes if he were elected.
"Anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase," Biden told ABC News in mid-March. "If you make less than $400,000, you won't see one single penny in additional federal tax."
The White House has repeatedly given inconsistent responses when asked whether the $400,000 threshold applies to individuals or married couples and households – including as recently as Thursday morning.
"People file as married couples, they file as individuals, and his promise to the American people is that people who are in the 99% of people who are making less than that are not going to have their taxes go up," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on CNN on Thursday. Asked whether the threshold for families will also be $400,000, she said: "That’s right, and individuals."
The top 1% of U.S households would owe an average of $260,000 more per year in taxes under the proposal, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute's Tax Policy Center.
Revenue generated by the tax increases would be used to pay for Biden's sweeping spending plan that seeks to dramatically boost federal investment in education, child care and paid family leave. Billed by the White House as a "once-in-a-generation investment" in the nation's future, the plan includes $1 trillion in spending over the next decade, as well as $800 billion in tax credits for the middle class.
FOX Business' Blake Burman contributed to this report